Forthcoming 2017 (in production) The Writing of Renaissance Politics: Sharing, Appropriating, and Asserting Authorship in the Letters of Francesco II Sforza, Duke of Milan journal: Renaissance Studies [9,000-word article]
Forthcoming early 2017 (in production) From New Diplomatic History to New Political History: The Rise of the Holistic Approach journal: European History Quarterly [5,000-word review article]
Forthcoming Spring 2017 (submitted, accepted) By Whisper and Raven: Information and Communication in Game of Thrones in Game of Thronesversus History, ed. by B. A. Pavlan and E. S. Lott (Hoboke, NJ: Wiley) [6,000-word essay]
Abstract - In Game of Thrones, characters are often seen engaging with information and communication, the latter both short-distance and long-distance. With regard to information, for example, Tyrion Lannister begins handling voluminous administrative registers as soon as he is appointed Master of Coin; in similar fashion, one of the symbols of Tywin Lannister's being a seasoned politician are desks full of writings of various forms. By contrast, Varys's 'spiderweb' is predominantly oral: plotting and material ink do not get along, while investing in a network of shady informants is an excellent idea — Littlefinger's bombastic “Knowledge is power” resonates at court. As far as communication is concerned, many mainstream media (e.g. Wired) have wondered how big was the world of Game of Thrones, but nobody has mused on the ways distant people connected to each other. The system of crows carrying brief missives looks especially popular, and many people (also within the not-exactly-well-educated Nightwatch,) seem able to de-code written messags. How accurate is this overall picture, when compared to medieval techniques of information and communication? Is the use of written evidence for administative means portrayed in a reliable way? How significant was the tension between the written and the oral, so evident in King's Landing? Did medieval people actually resort to 'homing pigeons' of sorts? Is the interconnectedness of Game of Thrones's world plausible for medieval standards? My essay will answer these and other questions building upon a recent rise of interest for the study of medieval information and communication. It will be mostly concerned with their materiality, so that the reader will pay more attention to the portraiture of written evidence in Game of Thrones in the future.
2016 Fonti per la storia degli archivi degli antichi stati italiani ed. by F. De Vivo, A. Guidi, A. Silvestri, with the collaboration of F. Antonini and G. Giudici (Rome: Direzione Generale per gli Archivi)
2015 Ludovico Annibale Della Croce: letterato, segretario del Senato di Milano e archivista del Cinquecento in Archivi, Ufficiali e Società in Italia tra Medioevo e Età Moderna, ed. by F. De Vivo, A. Guidi, A. Silvestri (Rome: Viella)
Abstract - Ludovico Annibale Della Croce (1509-1577) was one of the most important officials and intellectuals of Milan between the 1540s and the 1570s. This is so true that less than twenty years after Della Croce's death, historian Paolo Morigi (La Nobiltà di Milano, 1595) already listed him among the most illustrious literates of Sixteenth-Century Milan. Nevertheless, scholars have not devoted any attention to Della Croce. His figure comes up in many studies, but only incidentally, as he nurtured relationships with some famous Milanese (Ortensio Lando, Giulio Della Rovere) and partook in a cosmopolitan network of Erasmians gathering around Lyonnaise typographer Sébastiane Gryphe. My article explores Della Croce's profile as a case study for re-framing some all-too-often simplified models of Sixteenth-century intellectuality. Indeed, I argue that the importance of Della Croce does not rest only on his intellectual and literary career, but also on the administrative activity as secretary and archivist to the Senate of Milan. These two dimensions were not hierarchically separated (like our contemporary mindset would suggest, the literary being “more valuable” than the administrative,) but strictly co-essential. Della Croce took advantage of his role as secretary to influence some political-cultural choices of the Senate, like the appointment of a controversial reformer like Aonio Paleario (1500-1570). And, vice-versa, the Senate (and society as a whole) saw Della Croce as a compatriot who honoured the city by writing elegant letters to prestigious interloctuors.
Deploying Paper as a Performance of Power: The strategies of Francesco II Sforza (1522-1535) as a case study to rethink early modern political-administrative correspondence
Conference: The Politics of Paper in the Early Modern World Place /Date: Groningen/ 9-10 June 2016 Abstract -Francesco II Sforza (1522–1535) was the last of the Sforza dynasty (1450–1535) to rule the duchy of Milan. Francesco II's history as duke was always characterised by grave political and financial instability: for example, he struggled to fund his diplomatic agents, and to display the magnificentia expected from a Renaissance prince. However, as I will demonstrate, there was one expense Francesco II did not cut: that for corresponding with officers and subjects around the territory of the duchy of Milan. At first glance, the reason of this choice seems obvious: pragmatically, Francesco II needed to continuously send messages and orders in order to administer his dominion. But was that it? I do not think so. (read more)
Information Conveyors, Performance Enablers. The Different Reception of Diplomatic Dispatches in two Embassies for Francesco II Sforza (Augsburg/Nurnberg and London, 1526-1527)
Conference: Ambassades et ambassadeurs XVe XVIIe siècles Place/Date: Paris/ 26-28 November 2015 Abstract - What did an early 16th century diplomatic dispatch do? Today, when the dispatch is delivered to the desk of an archive reading room, the answer to this question seems obvious: dispatches convey information. Yet, the original context of reception of the documents under the examination of scholars was typically much more complex than the quiet archive reading room. (read more)
Ludovico Annibale Della Croce: Segretario, Archivista, Letterato Milanese del Cinquecento, (Ludovico Annibale Della Croce: Secretary, Archivist, Literate of Sixteenth-Century Milan)
Conference: Archivi, Ufficiali e Società in Italia tra Medioevo ed Età Moderna Place /Date: Rome / 18-19 September 2014 Abstract - See "Publications" above.
Exiled Diplomacy: The Material Side of Documentation in the Embassies For Francesco II Sforza (1526-1530)
Conference: Diplomacy and Culture in the Early Modern World Place / Date: Oxford / 31 July - 2 August 2014 Abstract -Duke Francesco II Sforza (1495-1535) was the last member of the Sforza family to rule Milan and its duchy (1522-1535). Between 1526 and 1530, Francesco II was banned from his own duchy by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, as the duke had allegedly conspired against Charles' influence in Italy. During these four years, Francesco tried to keep the pace of foreign affairs establishing an emergency network of trusted followers, who acted as ambassadors. They operated in some of the key courts of the time: the imperial court of Charles V, the court of Francis I, king of France, and the papal court in Rome. Given the weak financial and political situation of the exiled duke, the status of Francesco’s agents abroad was very different from the diplomatic standards of the time. (read more)